Highs and lows for Irish sailors chasing Olympic qualification in Portugal

Ireland’s single-handed sailors seeking a place at the Tokyo Olympics this summer had a mixed day in Vilamoura, Portugal today (Tuesday 20th April 2021) in the European Laser qualification regatta.

A Black Flag disqualification for early starting in the first race of the day for Rio Olympic veteran Finn Lynch from Carlow (National Yacht Club) dampened his overall standing despite placing sixth in the race that followed and he lies 28th overall in the 139-boat fleet.

Just two nation places remain to be decided for Tokyo while 17 countries including Ireland are hunting one of the berths.  This event is both the qualifier and the only competition of the past year since the Covid pandemic disrupted the Olympic quadrennial.

Ewan McMahon from Howth YC was pleased with his 12th place in the second race that made up for a 29th earlier and he lies 48th overall.

It was a similar story for Liam Glynn from Ballyholme YC who had a 15th place in the first race, and was alongside five times Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt of Brazil at the first mark in the next race, and got squeezed out in the crowd of boats at the mark rounding. He lies 52nd overall.

“There is a tough task ahead as Wednesday marks the halfway stage of the regatta with little room for error,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.  “However, there remains eight races to build up places with a narrow spread of points to overcome.”

Meanwhile, continuing the theme of highs and lows for the Irish boats, Rio 2016 Silver medallist Annalise Murphy had a 41st place then a seventh for the day in the women’s Radial event while Howth’s Aoife Hopkins had a sixth and a 35th.  This regatta is also a qualifier for Tokyo but Ireland has already secured its nation place and will be represented by Annalise Murphy.

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